Sing, Unburied, Sing (Hardback)Jesmyn Ward (author)
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Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018
Winner of the National Book Award 2017
'The heir to Faulkner' - Time
An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing examines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power - and limitations - of family bonds.
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children's father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can't put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.
When the children's father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary.
At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
Rich with Ward's distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America. It is a majestic new work from an extraordinary and singular author.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 437 g
Dimensions: 216 x 135 mm
'This wrenching new novel by Jesmyn Ward digs deep into the not-buried heart of the American nightmare. A must' - Margaret Atwood
'Maybe that's the miracle here: that ordinary people whose lives have become so easy to classify into categories like rural poor, drug-dependent, products of the criminal justice system, possess the weight and the value of the mythic ... Such feats of empathy are difficult, all too often impossible to muster in real life. But they feel genuinely inevitable when offered by a writer of such lyric imagination as Ward' - New York Times Book Review
'Ghosts, the voices of the dying, painful journeys across an unforgiving country. This is Faulkner territory. Ward's updated version is gruesomely fascinating, especially as she rounds out her story with characters of real-world complexity ... Her cool handling of the mythical tropes of journeying and listening to ancestral voices makes this a harrowing, essential novel for our times' - The Times
'It is rich, sometimes unbearably so ... The signal characteristic of Ward's prose is its lyricism ... the effect is hypnotic ... This, and her ease with vernacular language, puts Ward in fellowship with such forebears as Zora Neale Hurston and William Faulkner ... The tone and atmosphere in Sing, Unburied, Sing call out, too, to Toni Morrison-particularly Beloved, whose most sorrowful revelations are echoed in the climax of "Sing"' - New Yorker
'Ward's prose is characterised by its lyrical beauty: woven throughout are precise, elegant registrations of sensory impression, miniature epiphanies that momentarily lift us from the immediate situation ... undeniably well-executed' - Sunday Times
'Blazing with power, grief and tenderness, Jesmyn Ward's third novel breathes danger into the classic American road trip ... What might, in less sure hands, have remained a local tale, makes a searing story of universal power ... Ward takes the territory made so familiar by writers such as William Faulkner or Eudora Welty, and reclaims it, for her and for others like her in the future' - Financial Times
'Ward is a lyrical, visceral storyteller, one who is as adept at conveying the tenderness of sibling love as the terror and brutality of racist violence' - Daily Mail
'A novel as blazingly hymn-like as the title suggests' - Jon McGregor, New Statesman
'Most effective as a poetic critique of US history ... A brooding, pained meditation on the proposition, spelled out by Colson Whitehead in The Underground Railroad, that "America is a ghost in the darkness"' - Guardian
'The heir to Faulkner' - Time
'A powerfully alive novel haunted by ghosts; a road trip where people can go but they can never leave; a visceral and intimate drama that plays out like a grand epic, Sing, Unburied, Sing is staggering' - Marlon James
'However eternal its concerns, Sing, Unburied, Sing is perfectly poised for the moment' - New York Times
'[A] hauntingly lyrical ghost story' - Mail on Sunday
'The connection between the injustices of the past and the desperation of present are clearly drawn in Sing, Unburied, Sing, a book that charts the lines between the living and the dead, the loving and the broken. I am a huge fan of Jesmyn Ward's work, and this book proves that she is one of the most important writers in America today' - Ann Patchett
'One of the most powerfully poetic writers in the country ... Readers may be reminded of the trapped spirits in George Saunders's recent novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, but Toni Morrison's Beloved is a more direct antecedent' -Washington Post
'An unforgettable novel about race, love and history' - Elle
'A searing, urgent read for anyone who thinks the shadows of slavery and Jim Crow have passed, and anyone who assumes the ghosts of the past are easy to placate. It's hard to imagine a more necessary book for this political era' - Celeste Ng
'An American road novel transplanted to 21st century rural America, looking at race, belonging and how the past can never be left behind. Utterly captivating, this is a special book that will make your heart and soul ache' - Stylist
'The civil liberty struggles faced by Americans today, and the country's history are reflected in Ward's affecting prose' - The i
'The cult read: Sing, Unburied, Sing won the National Book Award this year. It feels particularly timely, centring on a family road trip through a fractured Mississippi' - Sunday Times Style
'Jesmyn Ward is an important new voice of the American South - one developing, perhaps, into the twenty-first-century's answer to William Faulkner. Fiercely partisan yet unillusioned, she displays an impressive understand of politics and idiom. But perhaps most striking is her sustained and clear-eyed attention to people who, when noticed at all, are more usually consigned to a novel's periphery. Here they take centre stage and are depicted with the kind of piercing clarity born of love' - Kate Webb, Times Literary Supplement
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“A carefully crafted tale of family relationships, race, ghosts, and love.”
I picked up this book because there has been a lot of hype surrounding it, and it didn’t disappoint. The story is told from the perspectives of Jojo, his mother Leonie, and the ghost of Richie. Parts of it reminded... More
“A stunningly powerful novel”
An absolutely stunning novel that won the National Book Award for Fiction in the US. Set in the Deep South, Sing, Unburied Sing has switching narrators, from 13-year-old JoJo, to his drug-addicted mother Leonie, and... More
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